Musk plans Twitter’s second IPO; Zilingo cofounder rebuffs harassment claims
Also in this letter:
■ Zilingo cofounder addresses harassment claims in memo
■ Amazon doubles its India export target to $20B by 2025
■ Tata Digital ropes in top Swiggy executive
Musk plans to take Twitter public again in three years: report
Elon Musk plans to take Twitter public again and could do so within three years of buying the social media company, the Wall Street Journal has reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Musk has told potential investors he plans to stage an initial public offering to return Twitter to public markets, the report said.
On Monday, Reuters reported that Musk was in talks with investors about taking on more financing for his $44-billion acquisition so that less of his own wealth would be tied up in the deal.
The new financing, which could come in the form of preferred or common equity, could reduce the $21 billion cash contribution that Musk has committed to the deal as well as a margin loan he secured against his Tesla shares, the sources said.
Paid accounts? Meanwhile, Musk said business and government users may soon need to pay a “slight” fee to use Twitter, adding that the platform would always be free for “casual users”.
The billionaire has previously said he wants to make Twitter “better than ever by enhancing the product with new features”.
Musk’s plans to improve Twitter: Since striking a deal to buy the company, Musk has proposed several changes to improve what he has termed a “niche” platform.
- These include new features, both for regular users and members of Twitter Blue, its premium subscription service. He also proposed cutting the price of Twitter Blue.
- Musk has also said he wants to make Twitter’s decisions on promoting or demoting tweets more transparent, and open up its algorithms to public scrutiny.
- He has also said repeatedly that he wants to rid Twitter of spam bots and authenticate all real people.
Troubled to see some people act against Zilingo’s interests, cofounder tells employees
Zilingo cofounder & CTPO, Dhruv Kapoor
Zilingo cofounder Dhruv Kapoor has written to company’s employees, addressing allegations of sexual harrasment and toxic work culture at the startup as its tussle with suspended CEO Ankiti Bose intensifies.
Catch up quick: Zilingo suspended Bose on March 31 after alleged discrepancies were discovered in the company’s accounting during a due-diligence process for a new funding round, ET reported on April 12.
Bose, who worked with Sequoia Capital India before launching Zilingo, disputed these allegations and contested her suspension.
She termed the company’s action a “witch hunt” and hinted that it was triggered by harassment complaints she had raised against an investor in the company.
What he said: In a memo to employees on Wednesday Kapoor wrote, without naming Bose, “We’ve always had a culture that does not tolerate sexual harassment, workplace harassment, bullying or intimidation… In rare cases when workplace issues were reported, we’ve always followed due process and taken strict action.”
“We’re troubled to see some people in the team act against the interests of the company, sometimes in a way that hurts Zilingo’s reputation or the reputation of various people in the organisation,” he added.
Board vs Bose: In a statement on May 2, Zilingo’s board said that Bose made allegations of harassment only after she was suspended, adding the decision to suspend her was taken jointly by the board, and did not reflect the decision of any particular investor.
Startups under the scanner: Zilingo’s troubles come at a time when some Sequoia-backed companies have been in the news for issues related to corporate governance and financial audits. These include fintech firm BharatPe and social commerce platform Trell.
Also Read | Good governance begins in the founders’ head: Info Edge’s Sanjeev Bikhchandani
Tweet of the day
Amazon doubles its India export target to $20 billion by 2025
Amazon has doubled its export target from the Indian market to $20 billion by 2025.
Catch up quick: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had said on a visit to India in 2020 that the company aimed to export around $10 billion worth of merchandise from the country by 2025.
Momentum: Abhijit Kamra, director for global trade at Amazon India, said the company decided to revise its export target after seeing increased momentum in exports over the years.
He said the company achieved $1 billion in exports three years after launching the Amazon Export Programme in 2015. Since then, it has hit cumulative exports of over $3 billion and is on track to hit $5 billion soon.
The programme now includes more than a lakh small and medium businesses, he added.
They were followed by jewellery and home, which grew at 47% and 32%, respectively.
Tussle with Future rages on: On Tuesday we reported that Amazon has asked the Securities and Exchange Board of India to investigate Future Retail Ltd (FRL) for alleged “material suppression” and “false disclosures” by the Indian retailer, accusing it of “defrauding its shareholders and the Indian investors at large”.
In its letter to Sebi, dated May 2, Amazon said FRL did not “face a significant liquidity risk with regards to its lease liabilities, as the current assets are sufficient to meet obligations to lease liabilities as and when they fall due”.
Tata Digital hires another top startup exec, this time from Swiggy
Tata Digital has hired another top startup executive — Shivcharan Pulugurtha from Swiggy — according to a source privy to the development.
Pulugurtha was Swiggy’s senior vice president of business, the second-highest position behind the CXO, and handled the company’s food delivery operations. According to his LinkedIn page, he joined the organisation in 2019 as the national business head.
New role: At Tata Digital, Pulugurtha is expected to have a broader role for now, spread across fashion and other categories on the company’s Neu app, the source added.
Hiring spree: Tata Digital president Mukesh Bansal, who previously founded Myntra, has been recruiting senior executives from the new-economy ecosystem since he joined the company, we reported on April 6.
Amid fires, electric vehicle companies step up hiring
Faced with teething problems in the nascent sector, including a spate of fires involving electric two-wheelers, electric vehicle (EV) makers have increased hiring in recent weeks.
Executives at several recruitment and staffing firms, and the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV), said hiring has picked up, particularly in functions such as engineering, research and development, sales, and service.
Specialised skills: Companies are looking for engineers from a relatively new field known as mechatronics, which combines research, design, development, and machinery maintenance integrating both electronic and computer control systems, according to ManpowerGroup.
Power drive: A sharp increase in fuel prices, revisions to subsidies under the FAME-II (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles in India) scheme, and state government incentives have all contributed to strong demand for EVs over the past year. It remains to be seen if the recent EV fires lead to reduced sales.
Today’s ETtech Top 5 newsletter was curated by Arun Padmanabhan in New Delhi and Zaheer Merchant in Mumbai. Graphics and illustrations by Rahul Awasthi.